Promising startup projects at Széchenyi István University

Maintenance of a vending machine with the help of software, an app that recommends recipes based on the contents of the fridge, an online platform that connects micro-influencers with advertisers - these were the student startup projects that the jury found the most promising in the third year of the Hungarian Startup University Program (HSUP) at Széchenyi István University, which ended in June. The nationwide initiative introduces hundreds of students in Győr to the world of innovative entrepreneurship, and provides the best ones with the professional support they need to turn their ideas into real businesses.


In Hungary, the Hungarian Startup University brings together a nationwide, centrally supported and organised startup programme across universities, managed by the Express Innovation Agency, with the aim of helping the Hungarian knowledge economy to develop, i.e. to create more internationally successful Hungarian companies that market the ideas generated at universities in the form of spin-offs, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the Hungarian economy. A key pillar of this is the cross-university HSUP programme, which started its third season at Széchenyi István University this year.

The programme ended with the institutional demo day, when student teams presented their business ideas. Some had already prototyped their product, others presented the design of their app. Of the more than 300 ideas initially submitted, 15 were given the go-ahead by the jury, of which three were awarded prizes after the presentations.


7f5c56_5e72bbed10424436ab903698ba44275d~mv2.jpegParticipants of the demo day with the jury (Photo: Márton Horváth)


Third place went to the TMark team, who would link micro-influencers to advertisers. Online marketing currently advertises with high reach influencers, but they work with high prices and are usually already contracted with a big agency. On the other hand, an effective strategy could be to attract micro-influencers with a smaller following, which is what the student business offers companies.


Cook & Service, whose members would recommend recipes based on the contents of the fridge to individual consumers and corporate clients alike, in the spirit of sustainability, came a virtual second.

The best start-up in the jury's shortlist is the project of the App'tomat team, which provides an automated solution for the maintenance, emptying and filling of drink vending machines. The judges particularly liked the fact that the software, which the team would sell, was created without any hardware development, using only data from sensors.

Each of the winners will be able to pursue their project in a university incubator.


  The students presented their businesses to the jury in five minutes (Photos: Márton Horváth)


"We have been running the course under the name Startup Entrepreneurship I. and II. for the third year now, and we have launched it in thirteen departments this academic year," said Dr. Szabolcs Rámháp, Startup Incubation Manager of Széchenyi István University, the Győr coordinator of the HSUP programme. 

"During the training part, students have to work independently on e-learning material divided into modules, supplemented by a number of articles and videos, from which they can gain marks in the final module tests. If you just want to get to know the world of start-ups, you will get marketable, usable knowledge in this field."

- he said.
A big advantage of the HSUP programme is that, in addition to theoretical knowledge, it also provides practical knowledge, since in the second semester of the course students can implement a concrete business development project - in teams, of course. The idea generator also receives funding for the implementation, as team members receive a monthly grant through the programme, which they can reinvest in 

the project.

As mechanical engineering students, László Vaskeba and Botond Nagy (right) participated with great enthusiasm in the second semester of the course.


At the end of the first semester, students must submit a one-page summary of their business idea as the requirement for the signature. The owners of the projects deemed most marketable and feasible will be given the opportunity to take the lead in the implementation of the project, with at least two and up to four team members from those whose ideas have not been selected. Participation in the project work is not compulsory for those who only want to complete the subject, they only need to focus on the end-of-module tests.

Teams will choose a mentor with business experience through the central system to support and advise them throughout the semester. The programme also ensures that it trains students on a variety of topics, both in the form of national webinars and local workshops, for example this year market validation was a key focus, so that teams can probe the market to see what the real demand is for their product or service.


The jury members are Dr. Szabolcs Rámháp, startup incubation manager and coordinator of HSUP Győr, Dávid Horváth, SME marketing expert and business consultant, and Csaba Schuck, business development manager.


Péter Lázár, the team leader of App'tomat and the inventor of the idea, is a transport engineering student at Széchenyi István University. As he told us, he had been thinking about becoming an entrepreneur for a long time and jumped at the chance as soon as he saw the HSUP programme. 

"I was not motivated by the credits and the scholarship, but by the chance to finally realise my idea, for which I had all the help I needed. I put in a lot of hard work and I am very grateful to my peers for their efforts to achieve our goal. We want to get investment, so our goal is to qualify for the national finals. If that fails, we will try another route to recapitalisation and if the conditions are right, we would like to set up the business legally as well." - the team leader told us, adding that he can only recommend the programme to anyone who is thinking of establishing some kind of business.


Péter Vezendi, representing App'tomat, received the first prize (Photo: Márton Horváth)


Innovation ecosystem at Széchenyi István University

The innovation ecosystem of Széchenyi István University is a system that is open from the bottom and from the top and offers a number of connecting points for the participants of the startup culture. The HSUP programme discussed above is primarily about education: it introduces students to the world of business development and supports early-stage teams. The Spinoff Club series of events, open to anyone, is also a gateway for those interested, but also a way to meet and learn. If you are a researcher who is open to an entrepreneurial approach, the Széchenyi Duo scheme is a good way to develop a prototype. However, there are also examples of people who contact the university with an established company, for whom the institution can help find investors.

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